Indian Entertainment

     I didn’t think it was possible but democracy is getting weirder.
     Take ballot initiatives (please). I’ve railed against them here before – they’re deceptive, overly-complicated, lead to unintended consequences, and only available to the wealthy while masquerading as empowerment for the masses.
     And now it’s getting worse.
     I was listening to a public radio talk show last week about paid ballot initiative signature gatherers when someone called in to say he’s seen a new wrinkle – paid ballot signature initiative blockers.
     People, he claimed, were being hired to convince people not to sign the petitions being thrust at them by the people hired by someone else.
     Yes – if this caller had the story right – some of these guys were being paid by the signature and some of these guys were being paid by the lack of signature.
     You know what’s coming next: offensive linemen for the gatherers.
     Some of us will never be able to get into grocery stores.
     I might have thought this phenomenon was a fluke but just a few days later I listened to a radio commercial imploring me not to sign any petitions.
     Identity theft.
     I’m not quite sure how or why but somehow information from petitions is getting into the wrong hands and even showing up as far away as India.
     Really. The announcer said that. Somewhere in India people are laughing at the things we sign up for.
     The last time I checked, initiative petitions don’t generally require credit card or Social Security numbers, so I’m not sure what’s being stolen. I think it’s our souls.
     It’s not cameras that steal souls – it’s initiative petitions.
     What this means is that someone is financing a deceptive anti-initiative campaign against financed deceptive initiatives.
     Democracy achieves balance.
     AN ODD ALTERNATIVE. Consider this idea: put together a new political party made up of anyone who wants to join no matter what their politics, let anyone vote for a presidential nominee via the Internet (as often and through as many identities as they like), and then get that nominee on the ballot in every state so that he or she can dilute the votes going to one of the parties that actually has a platform of sorts.
     Even your dogs and small children will be able to vote (just like on American Idol).
     If that sounds preposterous, you know, of course, that it’s happening.
     Check out for the awful truth. The frontman for this group (or whatever it is) has been getting national publicity for the innovative idea that people and computer hackers need to band together to stand for nothing.
     Here’s a sentence from the “about” section on the Americans Elect website: “We have no ties to any political group-left, right, or center. We don’t promote any issues, ideology or candidates.”
     Who wouldn’t want to vote for that?
     And how exactly are they going to find a candidate that doesn’t immediately lose the votes of all the Internet users who voted to nominate someone completely different?
     Do they really think some kid country singer is going to appeal to me? (Sorry. I’ve got to get over this American Idol obsession.)
     Here’s the best part: to get on ballots in every state, Americans Elect is collecting petition signatures.
     People in India are going to be laughing about this.

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